Vigoro is a team sport, played mainly by women in Australia, that originally combined elements of cricket and tennis, although in its current form it may be more similar to cricket and baseball.[1]

SLNSW 52283 Vigoro players in action at the wicket
Vigoro players in action at the wicket, circa 1929


The game was invented in 1901 by Englishman John George Grant.[a][1] In the original version tennis rackets were used and the wicket consisted of six stumps. On 17 October 1902, a match was played before the MCC committee at Lord's.[3] An eleven led by real tennis and rackets player Eustace Miles, and including Wimbledon champions Laurence and Reginald Doherty, defeated the opposition, led by Surrey batsman Bobby Abel. Miles' team led after the first innings by 73 to 18 runs and won by an innings after Abel's team made only 39 runs in the second innings.[4] That same month the game was also played at Crystal Palace.[5] Games were also played that year, and in 1903, at London's Queen's Club.[1] In England interest in the game died down after a few years but it managed to gain a foothold in Australia where it was introduced during World War I. A key figure in the promotion of the game in Australia was Ettie Dodge, who was President (1919–66) of the New South Wales Women's Vigoro Association and foundation president (1932–66) of the All Australian [Vigoro] Association. Ettie's husband had met John George Grant in England. When the game was introduced to New South Wales schools in the 1920s, Dodge & Co. began selling vigoro equipment. Grant died in 1927 and bequeathed the trademark and copyright of the game to Ettie.[6]


Vigoro is played on a pitch which shall be no shorter than 17.68 m [58'],[7] which is slightly shorter in length than a cricket pitch. The balls are much lighter than those for cricket, and the bat has a different shape with a long handle resembling the shape of a paddle.[8][9]

There are two teams of 12 players which will bat and field two innings each (except in the event that a team wins with an innings in hand). The aim of the game is for a team to score more runs than the opposition team.

There are no overs and the batsmen bat from one end only. Two bowlers bowl alternately and can incorporate any type of "throwing" action as long as the ball is released above the shoulder (i.e. not underarm).

If the ball is hit forward of the crease, the batter must run.[10]

A run is completed each time both batters safely make it to the crease at the opposite end of the pitch. Fours and sixes also apply where the batter hits the ball past the boundary markers. In addition to shots made off the bat, byes and leg-byes add to the team's score.

Players may be dismissed by the same methods as in cricketbowled, caught, run out, stumped, leg before wicket, hit wicket, handled ball and hit the ball twice.

Interstate competition

SLNSW 7953 Queensland Ladies Vigoro Association Team
Queensland Ladies Vigoro Association Team (archive photo possibly taken in the 1930s)

Teams from Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland compete annually for the All Australian Vigoro Titles. These teams compete across four divisions – State (Senior) One and Two, Veterans and Juniors.

Year Host State Division Winners
State 1 State 2 State Juniors State Veterans
NSW NSW NSW Queensland NSW

Competing States

New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland[11] are the only States in Australia which host local competitions.

The 2010 Australian Vigoro Titles were held in Bendigo, the first time they had been contested in Victoria.[12]

See also


  1. ^ In early publications on the game the Hon. Algernon Grosvenor is also mentioned as inventor.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Justin Parkinson (22 July 2014). "Vigoro: The Edwardian attempt to merge tennis and cricket". BBC News. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Playing at Vigoro". Wanganui Chronicle. 16 August 1901. p. 1.
  3. ^ "Pars from London". Northants Evening Telegraph. British Newspaper Archive. 30 September 1902.
  4. ^ "The Strange Game of "Vigoro"". Yorkshire Evening Post. British Newspaper Archive. 18 October 1902.
  5. ^ "Rival to cricket". Dundee Evening Post. British Newspaper Archive. 11 October 1902.
  6. ^ "Ettie Dodge (1885 - 1973)" by Anne-Marie Gaudry, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, 1996, retrieved (from online edition) 20 December 2006
  7. ^ [1], All Australian Vigoro Rules October 2006.pdf, p. 3
  8. ^ NSW Vigoro Association Archived 21 August 2006 at the Wayback Machine "About us" section, retrieved 20 December 2006
  9. ^ Smith, Lucy (7 October 2015). "Vigoro is a strategic sport". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  10. ^ ABC Northern Tasmania "All Australian Vigoro Titles", retrieved 9 November 2013
  11. ^ Davy, Andrea (8 January 2013). "State vigoro titles hit off". Daily Mercury. Retrieved 15 August 2015.
  12. ^ All Australian Vigoro Titles 2010 Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Game Results, retrieved 25 November 2012

External links

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Clarice Mary Araluen Kennedy (4 September 1910 – 1998) was an Australian athlete who competed in a range of athletics events.

A student at Fort Street High School in Sydney, Kennedy was a versatile athlete in the late 1920s and 1930s, successful in swimming, diving, vigoro, hockey, tennis and basketball.She set a range of Australian records in sprints, hurdles, 400 metres, 800 metres, Shot Put and Javelin and also won the inaugural NSW State Two-Mile Cross country championship. Her time of 12.2 for 80 metres hurdles in 1930 broke the world record but her performance was not ratified which greatly disappointed Kennedy. In the same year, Kennedy saved the life of a drowning boy.In 1936 she won four events at the National Games (and Olympic trials) in Adelaide but she was not selected for the 1936 Berlin Games. Her omission caused an outrage with questions even asked in parliament.In her career she won seven Australian championship at hurdles and javelin but only represented Australia at one international event, the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney.At the age of 59, Kennedy enrolled at University and went on to complete a Masters of Science degree with honours before completing a PhD. She had completed the first year of her Bachelor of Divinity when she died of cancer in 1998.

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Double innings matches usually have at least six hours of playing time each day. Limited overs matches often last at least six hours; and Twenty20 matches are generally completed in under four hours. In a full day's play scheduled for at least six hours, there are formal intervals on each day for lunch and tea with brief informal breaks for drinks. There is also a short interval between innings.

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List of sports

The following is a list of sports/games, divided by category.

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.

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Softball in Tasmania

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Women's baseball in Australia

In the 1880s in Victoria, there were school competitions for girls involving interschool competitions for rounders, an early form of baseball. The competitions were abandoned in the 1890s. Girls who played rounders/baseball during the 1880s and 1890s were required to wear long sleeved shirts and long skirts. These restricted a player's ability to move.At Merton Hall in 1908, school girls who did not want to play other sports were required to play baseball. Merton Hall's girls baseball team competed against Lauriston and PLC. During the 1900s, baseball was a year-round sport. Because of clothing restrictions, during the 1900s, "two masters, captaining opposing teams of boarders and day girls, did all the running."During the 1910s, vigoro was played in some schools in Australia. The game was a combination of baseball and cricket. It was popular in New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland.During the 1910s, girls' sports in schools were hard to organise because of a lack of available equipment and space set aside for them. There were also issues of the lack of available players at schools. This made it hard to play baseball at schools.In 1911, there was a state organisation for women's baseball in Western Australia.In the late 1920s, the YWCA started several baseball teams in Canberra.

During the 1930s, companies sponsored women's sport teams, and occasionally women's baseball teams, because physical activity for women improved their productivity at work. Arnotts in New South Wales purpose built several facilities for its female employees, including a baseball diamond.During the 1930s, country competitions were frequently held for female sports players. One of the sports that country competition regularly took place for was baseball.In the 1930s, changes were made to women's baseball player uniforms. These uniforms were known was "plus fours" or "apple catchers" or "knickerboxers." Baseball players liked them because the uniforms were modest, while allowing for a wide range of movement.During the 1930s, The Sportswoman was published. It was a Melbourne based newspaper exclusively dedicated to women's sport. Maise McDiarmed was the newspaper's baseball report. This was during an era where the trend was women covered women's sport and men's covered men's sport.In 1933, the New South Wales Amateur Women's Sport Council was created by Gwendolen Game. The organisation brought together all the women's sporting bodies on the state level. Sports represented included New South Wales's women's field hockey, cricket, women's basketball, baseball, rowing and vigoro. A similar organisation covering similar sports had been created in Victoria in 1931.The 1933 women's baseball season in Queensland started in October.In 1934, the Victorian Women's Centennial Sports Carnival was held. The event was organised by the Victorian Women's Amateur Sports Council and held at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. The purpose was to increase women's interest in sport by providing them opportunities to play. Sports that were included on the programme included cricket, field hockey, women's basketball, bowls, rowing, swimming, athletics, rifle shooting, baseball, golf, tennis and badminton. There were over 1,000 bowlers involved over the course a week. Cricket featured a match versus a visiting English side. Women's basketball featured a Victorian side playing against a representative all Australian side. There was a day for watersports such as swimming and rowing. A tennis tournament was held. A field hockey tournament featuring Australian, Kiwi and Fijian teams was played.The rules for women's baseball in Australia were not formally codified on a national level until 1933. At this time, all the women's state organisations for baseball go together to formally codify them in order to allow interstate competitions to take place. The first formal interstate competition happened in 1934. Prior to 1933, New South Wales and Queensland baseball players pitched overhand. Victorian baseball players pitched underhand. The codifiers of the rules decided that they would use the overhand pitch because the ball was thrown faster and more accurately, making it more difficult to hit. The size of the field was also made smaller than the men's diamond of the time and a smaller ball was to be used. In 1933, the Australian Women's Baseball Association was created as a result of the meeting and rule codification. Western Australia finally joined the organisation in 1936.In April 1934, the University of Sydney hosted the first women's baseball national championships. When the championships were completed, an All Australian team was selected. All Australian selection was the highest honour a player could get at a time when a national team did not exist. In 1936, the Australians reached out to see about creating a tournament with national teams from Canada, the United States and Japan.In 1936, the Kelvin Grove baseball club in Brisbane banned women from using their field and equipment to play baseball because the "baseball is nor a woman's game."In 1938, a Queensland women's baseball team played the Victorian women's baseball team in interstate games at University of Sydney

In 1940, a study of 314 women in New Zealand and Australia was done. Most of the women in the study were middle class, conservative, Protestant and white. The study found that 183 participated in sport. The twenty-fourth most popular sport that these women participated in was baseball, with 1 women having played the sport. The sport was tied with baseball, bowls, and ice hockey.ç

In 1942, softball was introduced to Australia by American nurses who were in the country because of World War II. Softball was a cross between rounders and baseball. In 1944, the Victorian Women's Softball Association was created. At its inception and the start of a competition organised by the association, it had 29 teams and 250 players. By 1944, softball was integrated into the University of Melbourne teacher physical education coursework. The first president of this organisation was Irene Burrows.Australian women's sports had an advantage over many other women's sport organisations around the world in the period after World War II. Women's sport organisations had largely remained intact and were holding competitions during the war period. This structure survived in the post war period. Women's sport were not hurt because of food rationing, petrol rationing, population disbursement, and other issues facing post-war Europe.

Women's cricket in Australia

While not being urged to avoid competition, women had few opportunities to compete in sport in Australia until the 1880s. After that date, new sporting facilities were being built around the country and many new sport clubs were created.

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